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Eugene Weekly : Gift Guide : 11.24.10

 

Eugene Weekly's Gift Guide 2010:

Reduce, Reconnect,  Rejoice! More ideas than just “coupon good for one massage” 

Organic on Your Skin Soaps made with love and garden herbs 

Caffeine Up Get through the holidays with the rituals of tea and coffee

Birds of a Feather Art and fashion in Poppy & Moe

Between Children and Young Adults Gifts for tweens straddle the line

Wood from the Heart Bad economy leads to lovely toys

Life, Death and Water Soothing fountains arise from crises

Drool-Worthy and Local Start a new, natural tradition

Kiss the Cook Better yet, get the cook one of these great holiday gifts

Genius Gift: Make your own Fizzy Water

 

Life, Death and Water

Soothing fountains arise from crises

by Suzi Steffen

As Pema Chodron would tell us, there’s no certainty in life — and that can be a freeing thing. Lorin Haines might tell you something similar after transforming grief and loss into beauty and creativity.

A year after Haines’ beloved stepfather died, he found out that his corporate job would soon fall prey to the economy. “On the anniversary of his death, I was sitting with his ashes in the backyard,” Haines says. “I thought, ‘I want to spread them, so I should probably make a memorial.’” From that thought came Haines’ new company, Lilliput Industries, and a line of memorial pottery, tabletop fountains (not necessarily memorial in nature) and other Zen gardens that he’ll be selling at the Holiday Market this year. 

The memorials he made for his stepfather, and distributed to his family, included baking his stepfather’s ashes into various small ceramics. For his fountains, he uses gravel as a base in a sand tray that he makes out of recycled wood and other repurposed materials, then places lava rocks and small plants into the base.

Haines worked with the Forest Service to get a conditional permit so that he can harvest small lava rocks. He says that the gravel helps protect the sand trays from the rocks, which, of course are incredibly sharp. “They can definitely puncture things,” he says, wincing. As he searches for the right rocks, he wears out the soles of his shoes and must replace them often.

Don’t call the small plants in the trays “bonsai,” no matter how much you might associate small trees in Buddhist-like settings of calm with bonsai. “They’re pre-bonsai,” he says, because they’re new and need to be cared for to remain in good shape.

The other element, of course, is water and electricity to keep the water going. “I bring a small battery pack to the Saturday Market,” he says, but one day the batteries died. “People just couldn’t visualise what the fountains would be like when they were running.” So at the Holiday Market, he’ll for sure have plenty of spare power.

Haines says his customers tell him the sound of the water can be quite soothing, and that his mother appreciates having an art piece instead of simply an urn as a memorial to his stepfather. 

He appreciates the artistic bent of the Market and of Eugene in general. “I rode my bike up here from L.A. when I was 17, and I never looked back.” 

Now, his new passion, built from the ashes of his past, will help keep the Market a calmer, more soothing place to go gift-shopping this holiday season.

Lorin Haines and Lilliput Industries will be at the Holiday Market  Dec. 4-5 and 23-24.